Manage expectations. Establish mutually agreeable expectations as to the time, expense and goals of every engagement. Let clients know what to expect and when. Clients should not be surprised.
In preparing this week's message, I reviewed the previous weekly messages on Managing Expectations (ME). What was most striking was that the previous authors emphasized different aspects of ME- some applied it to attorney/client situations; others to personal situations and still others applied it to co-worker situations- yet all recognized that the road to better results and better relationships involved ME.
So what is the secret sauce to ME? There is none, it's really quite simple. It all comes down to the parties having a direct, honest discussion.
For attorney/client situations it involves a meeting of the minds on:
- The expected result
- The likely expense in fees and costs
- The time frame involved in dealing with the matter
- The "process" in dealing with the matter
For an attorney giving work to another attorney, legal assistant or paralegal it involves a discussion of precisely what the attorney expects from the person he/she is assigning work to and when he/she expects it to be done.
For the person receiving the assignment, it means making sure you understand the assignment, and determining whether you can deliver the work product requested, in the time frame the attorney expects it.
If not, it is essential that you explain why you do not believe you can meet the attorney's expectation and discuss the options.
It is the same process for administrative people with attorneys or any other co-worker.
In fact, it is the same for ALL situations and all people. The only way to ME is for both parties to have a clear understanding of what is expected of each other and to be honest if one party's expectations can't be met.
Want happy clients and better relationships with legal assistants; co-workers; spouses; friends; children; other????
Make sure you are ME in all situations!!!
About the author: Gary J. Jaburg is the managing partner of the Phoenix law firm of Jaburg Wilk. He assists clients with employment and business matters, workouts of financial issues and business divorce.